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WTO: India, China to cooperate

September 11, 2003 12:15 IST

India and China have decided to coordinate position on the contentious World Trade Organisation issues of concern to the developing countries, with the Chinese Trade Minister Lu Fuyuan asserting, "In areas where we have a common consensus, we should offer support to each other."

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This assertion came at a bilateral meeting Commerce Minister Arun Jaitley had with his Chinese counterpart in Cancun on Thursday.

India and China are already part of the 21-member developing countries coalition -- on agriculture in the WTO -- which is pressing for the elimination of trade distorting subsidies and a more equitable world agricultural trade.

They are also together in the group of 15 developing countries that have been formed to oppose the Singapore issues comprising investment, competition policy, trade facilitation and transparency in government procurement.

Jaitley said that the coalition building had ushered in a new area of cooperation between India and China and observed that together both could shape the WTO negotiations and leave an impact on the functioning of the multilateral trading system.

In his address to the WTO Ministerial, Lu said, "We hold that agriculture is right at the core of the new round. The current stalemate cannot be broken nor can the overall negotiations be pushed forward unless the developed members with high subsidy, high support and high tariffs make major and substantial reduction commitments."

Negotiations on all the three pillars should proceed in a balanced way, he added.

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